Municipal reserves may be used for:
- open space;
- recreation facilities;
- public buildings;
- natural areas;
- horticultural uses; and
- agricultural uses.
The land may be leased for any of the permitted uses or for buildings or facilities owned by charitable corporations. New school sites must be accommodated on municipal reserve lands. Municipalities and school divisions may negotiate agreements for the joint use and maintenance of municipal reserves.
The location and suitability of land to be dedicated as municipal reserve is subject to the approval of the Director of Community Planning or any council or authority that has been declared an approving authority pursuant to the PDA.
New municipal reserves are to be identified on survey plans as Municipal Reserve MR#. Every subdivision for residential purposes must designate 10 per cent of its gross area as municipal reserve; for other subdivisions the designation is five per cent. The gross area includes all the proposed lots, parcels, streets and lanes and the remainder of the land being subdivided if it cannot be further subdivided.
Exemptions from the municipal reserve requirement are made for:
- large agricultural lots;
- the first lot subdivided out of a quarter section;
- parcels for utilities;
- parcels for public use; and
Cash-in-Lieu for Municipal Reserve
Sometimes dedication may be met by a monetary settlement in lieu of land. When this occurs, the subdivision applicant pays the municipality cash in lieu of providing land for municipal reserve. The payment must be equivalent to the value of the land that would have been dedicated.
The subdivision applicant, the municipality and the approving authority must all agree on the value of the land. Typically, the municipality will recommend an amount and the applicant and the approving authority will agree to this amount. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the value of the land must be determined by a qualified appraiser selected and paid for by the municipality.
A payment must be made to the municipality before a subdivision is approved. All payments must be deposited to the municipality's separate dedicated lands account. This account can only be used in accordance with the PDA and the Regulations, as outline in section 4 above.
Deferral of the Municipal Reserve Requirement
The dedication of municipal reserve may be deferred if the subdivision application includes land to be further subdivided. This might be an area to be subdivided in stages or a new parcel to be subdivided into lots later.
When dedication is deferred, the subdivision approving authority must register an interest on the title to the land from which the reserve will be provided in the future. The interest informs future owners of this commitment. The interest may be discharged once the dedication is met by land, money, or a combination of the two.
An interest can be registered on the title of land being created or on the title of other land to be subdivided.